In the past, bells and other noisemakers were believed to frighten away evil spirits. But, as part of the Winter Solstice Festivals, bell ringing activities were often rowdy, mixing in some fun with the serious intent.

As late as the 1890's, children in the United States thought of Christmas and noisemakers as nearly synonymous. But, for the most part, that tradition has died out - perhaps out of concern for parental eardrums! Bells, however - particularly church bells, have remained a staple of the Christmas season. Today, the peal of bells still herald the coming of the holiday.